In the 2021 Copa America, Argentina topped Group A before seeing off Ecuador and Colombia in the knockouts - the latter on penalties through the help of their goalkeeper.
Preparing to face hosts Brazil, Lionel Messi delivered a now famous speech rallying his Argentina players, a moment Martinez told GOAL moved him to his core:
“It really touched me,” the Aston Villa shot-stopper said. “I really felt like I wanted to cry because he mentioned my daughter. My wife gave birth 10 days before the (Copa America) final, so Messi said something about ‘he hasn’t even seen his newborn daughter to stay here with us’, so make sure we do it for him. Messi saying that... it gives you goosebumps. It was a really nice start to that day for me.”
Argentina went on to win that tie 1-0 and clinch the Copa America.
They following year they secured the 2022 World Cup, largely due to the heroics of Emiliano Martinez and Lionel Messi.
On the 2022 final, Martinez added: “When I go to bed, when I close my eyes, I’m thinking ‘what if that goes in?’,” Argentina’s No.1 revealed. “I couldn’t enjoy it at the time. It was so quick. (Hugo) Lloris cleared it, we headed it back, (Ibrahima) Konate cleared it again and all of sudden (Randal) Kolo Muani is one-v-one against me. Normally I would rush out to the ball but I was cool, I waited for him.
“I put a little bit of pressure. You see my left arm and my left leg goes to the near-post because I was praying, thinking that the ball would go there. I didn’t move my face, I closed my eyes and I thought ‘please hit me’ and it did. I never turned my face. If it hit me here (points to his nose), better, you know, make sure it doesn’t go in. It will be probably the best save of my football career.”